Thomas McKinless

Valentine’s, sweets and a national emergency: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Feb. 11, 2019

Sen. Tom Udall gave Sen. Amy Klobuchar a cookie as a thank you gift and Sen. Thom Tillis repeated his Valentine’s Day stunt from last year by showing a pink-scribbled card for his wife on the Senate floor.

But it wasn’t all love in D.C. this week as Sen. Chuck Grassley groused about being interrupted for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that President Donald Trump would be declaring a national emergency, and Trump geared up for likely legal challenges to his wall-building aspirations.

Watch: Trump announces national emergency on border, despite likely legal challenge
 

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday to redirect $6.6 billion from the Defense and Treasury departments to fund the construction of a Southern Border wall.

Senate leaders interrupt Grassley speech to announce Trump’s support for deal, national emergency plans
 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell interrupted Sen. Charles E. Grassley in the middle of a floor speech Thursday to announce that President Donald Trump had agreed to sign a funding bill to keep the government open, and that Trump intends to declare a national emergency.

The White House confirmed those plans, saying Trump was "delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”

Grassley prays on Senate floor that Trump will sign bill to keep government open
 

Sen. Charles E. Grassley gave an addendum to the Senate opening prayer Thursday morning, calling for President Donald Trump to keep the government open.

“Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down,” Grassley said, following the Senate prayer given by guest chaplain Rev. Eddie Edmonds.

Watch: Democrat Mark Pocan hands out ‘missing’ fliers for FOIA request outside ICE headquarters
 

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan posted up outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters Wednesday morning to hand out “missing” fliers for a Freedom of Information Act request he sent the agency in October. The FOIA inquiry was about ICE arrests in Wisconsin last year.

“Hi there, sir, is there a board inside for like lost cats and stuff?” Pocan asked a man walking into the ICE building as he attempted to hand him the “missing” flier.

Watch: Trump calls on Rep. Ilhan Omar to resign
 

President Donald Trump called for the resignation of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday, following days of controversy over a tweet from the congresswoman that was panned as anti-Semitic by both Republicans and Democrats. Omar apologized for the tweet Monday.

“What she said is so deep-seated in her heart that her lame apology … was just not appropriate,” Trump said at a cabinet meeting.

Watch: Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley join protest for immigrants in limbo
 

Freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna S. Pressley spoke at a rally outside the White House Tuesday afternoon to press for permanent residency for temporary protected status recipients. These immigrants have been in limbo since President Donald Trump ended TPS designation for a handful of countries in 2018.

Senate leaders praise border security deal
 

Senate leaders spoke on the floor Tuesday morning praising the border security tentative deal announced late Monday by a bipartisan group of negotiators from both chambers.

“As we speak, our colleagues are working hard to produce a legislative text,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “I look forward to reviewing the text as soon as possible.”

McConnell accuses Democrats of inserting ‘poison pill’ into border security talks
 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said House Democrats added a “poison pill demand” into the bicameral border security negotiations “at the 11th hour,” referring to the proposed 16,500 cap on Immigration and Customs Enforcement beds.

From the archives: Walter Jones’ salute to the troops
 

Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones, who died Sunday, was best known for bucking party lines and for his support of the U.S. Marines Corps. The wall outside his Capitol Hill office is blanketed in photos of slain Marines from Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps headquarters in Jones’ North Carolina district.

In 2017 Jones gave Roll Call a tour of his Rayburn office, including the tribute wall and other mementos from his many years in Congress.

Gritty on the Hill, a Louisiana greeting and tributes to the legendary John Dingell: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Feb. 4, 2019

President Donald Trump wasn’t the only big name to stop by the Capitol this week. Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty graced the Hill with his presence ahead of the congressional hockey game. This week also saw discussions of a tangled-up FAFSA prop, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer struggling with arithmetic and heartfelt tributes to the longest-serving member Rep. John Dingell, who died Thursday.

Thumbnail photo: A lighting crew sets up TV lights in Statuary Hall in preparation for the State of the Union on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Democrats downplay appearance of disunity on Green New Deal
 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward J. Markey introduced a resolution Thursday to advance the goals of the so-called Green New Deal, a progressive overhaul aiming to curb the effects of climate change. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had not yet read the resolution, but that she welcomes her caucus’ enthusiasm....
Optimistic, hypocritical and long: Members react to State of the Union in 3 words
 

Roll Call asked members of Congress to scribble down their three-word reactions to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. See what words Reps. Al Green, Tim Burchett, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sen. John Kennedy and more used to describe the hour-and-a-half long speech....
Members of Congress get in Super Bowl spirit despite lackluster game
 

New England members of Congress celebrated the Patriots’ Super Bowl win on Twitter Sunday night, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer dropped in on Stephen Colbert’s super bowl party in a pre-taped segment for The Late Show.

Before the game itself, Rep. John Lewis joined civil rights icons Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., and former Rep. Andrew Young for the game’s coin toss.

A missing bathroom door, the third kick of the mule and Movin’ On Up (in Hart) — Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Jan. 28, 2019

The back-and-forth between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued this week, but the main thing on freshman Rep. Tim Burchett’s mind was when he’d be getting a door for his office bathroom. Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz is one step away from playing Grateful Dead in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Lewis danced to Pharrell Williams and Sen. Tim Scott got an office upgrade to the tune of a classic 70s sitcom.

What is a national emergency? How Congress gave the White House broad, far-reaching powers
Roll Call Decoder

Congress is working to come up with an agreement on border security ahead of the government funding expiration date of Feb. 15. But President Donald Trump has said if the deal doesn’t include money for a southern border wall he will declare a national emergency to get it built instead.

Watch: Rep. Gwen Moore announces cancer diagnosis and remission, praises ACA
 

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore announced during a Ways and Means Committee hearing Tuesday that she was diagnosed with small cell lymphocytic lymphoma in the spring of 2018. She also announced that the cancer is now in remission.

‘No one should ever underestimate the speaker’: Democrats claim victory after shutdown agreement
 

“The longest shutdown in American history will finally end today," Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Friday after President Donald Trump announced an agreement to reopen the federal government.

Pelosi’s new nickname and we’re still talking about the Saints game: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Jan. 21, 2019

“I hope it doesn’t seem out of place with the shutdown,” Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said on the Senate floor before launching into a complaint about the no infamous no-call that occurred Sunday during the Saints-Rams game.

“It’s gonna take me awhile to get over that,” Rep. Steve Scalise, also of Louisiana, said in reference to the same no-call.

Meet Pippa the Corgi, the Senate’s newest Instagram star
Heard on the Hill — the lighter side of Capitol Hill

Samantha Heyrich, whose dog Pippa graces the office of Sen. Patrick J. Toomey on slow legislative days, says the adorable Corgi’s popularity with passersby makes going on walks in the Senate hallways “an ordeal.”

Pippa’s Instagram account features photos with various lawmakers, including Sens. John Kennedy, Michael Bennet, Johnny Isakson and, of course, Toomey.